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Demand for thermometers shoots up owing to coronavirus scare in Vietnam

Wednesday, February 05, 2020, 10:23 GMT+7
Demand for thermometers shoots up owing to coronavirus scare in Vietnam
Nguyen Van Hao, director of Domec Company, examines an infrared full-body temperature scanner. Photo: Ngoc Hien / Tuoi Tre

Body thermometers have become increasingly sought after in Vietnam as residents are taking all possible measures to avoid being infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Following a rapid surge in demand for face masks and hand sanitizers, more people are now buying body thermometers as another means of protection against the new virus.

According to a representative of Ho Chi Minh City-based Thien Ky Company, the exclusive distributor of a brand of handheld thermometers in Vietnam, their products have gone out of stock.

Each device sells at VND1.8 million (US$77), the representative continued, adding that most of their thermometers were sold to businesses in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong in order to measure the body temperature of their factory workers.

Similarly, Hanoi-based Huu Hao Company said they have run out of electronic thermometers since January 31.

A firm selling medical equipment in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City has limited the number of thermometers each customer could buy to one due to modest supply.

Amid the rising demand, experts have warned of the possibility that people will mistakenly purchase industrial thermometers, which are designed to measure the temperature of machines, compressors, or high-voltage wires.

These devices have a high measurement range of -20 to 650 degrees Celsius, thus results are not accurate as the margin of error can be up to two degrees Celsius.

Full-body temperature scanners are installed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Van Hao / Tuoi Tre

Full-body temperature scanners are installed at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Van Hao / Tuoi Tre

According to Nguyen Van Hao, director of Domec Company, the firm was in charge of installing infrared full-body temperature scanners, worth VND2 billion ($85,960) each, at major airports in Vietnam.

This type of thermometer is capable of measuring the temperature of each person in a crowd and detecting those with an abnormally high body temperature, Hao elaborated.

The novel coronavirus, which first surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, has caused 492 deaths and infected more than 24,500 people globally.

The virus has spread to two dozen countries and territories, including Vietnam, the U.S., Germany, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and more.

Vietnam confirmed its tenth case on Tuesday. Seven Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese were among the infected patients.

News of the infected patients in Vietnam has fueled fears among the public while increasing local demand for face masks and hand sanitizers, one of the measures believed to reduce the risk of infection.

Thermometers have been installed at local airports and many factories to detect those who are potentially infected with the virus.

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